First State Students Earn 10 Top 10 Finishes at 2022 National Stem Conference

The delegation representing 103 of Delaware’s finest student leaders in STEM attended the National TSA Conference that was hosted in Dallas, Texas from June 26 – 30, 2022. Students participated in events such as computer-aided design; dragster design; engineering, inventions & innovations; leadership strategies; manufacturing prototype; on-demand video; promotional graphics; structural engineering; system control technology; video game design; website design, and more.

Conference Highlights

  • Samhitha Vallury of MOT Charter School (charter) elected to serve as the national secretary for Technology Student Association inc.
  • Samra Iqbal of Caesar Rodney High School (Caesar Rodney School District) elected to serve as the national reporter for Technology Student Association inc.
  • Chris Meanor of Newark Charter School (charter) recognized as High School Advisor of the Year.
  • Gail Morris of Gauger-Cobbs Middle School (Christina School District) recognized as Middle School Advisor of the Year.

Top Ten Finalists

1st Place Essays on Technology Alexandra McWatters Newark Charter School (charter)
3rd Place CAD Engineering Leana Griffin Newark Charter School (charter)
4th Place Forensic Technology Sudipa Chowdhury Newark Charter School (charter)
5th Place Cybersecurity Tyler Selden H.B. duPont Middle School (Red Clay Consolidated School District)
7th Place Biotechnology Niranjana Kumar Cab Calloway School of The Arts (Red Clay Consolidated School District)
8th Place Prepared Speech Sudipa Chowdhury Newark Charter School (charter)
9th Place Scientific Visualization Ava Skye Barton Cab Calloway School of The Arts (Red Clay Consolidated School District)
9th Place STEM Animation Borislav Hristov Cab Calloway School of The Arts (Red Clay Consolidated School District)
10th Place Foundations of Information Technology Amogh Dattatri H.B. duPont Middle School (Red Clay Consolidated School District)
10th Place On Demand Video Ava Skye Barton Cab Calloway School of The Arts (Red Clay Consolidated School District)


The Delaware Technology Student Association (TSA) is a Career and Technical Student Organization (CTSO) dedicated to students interested in the future of invention, innovation, engineering, and technology. Through TSA, members gain the opportunity to participate in STEM focused competitive events, take part in community service work, and become leaders for the organization at the school, state and national level. TSA incorporates curricular and co-curricular experiences to emphasize the importance of knowledge, leadership, skill development, and teamwork.

To learn more about DETSA, please visit: or contact Mike Fitzgerald by phone at (302) 735-4015 or by email at

Find more photos here.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Summer of Opportunity

By Delaware Education Secretary Mark A. Holodick, Ed.D.


Education has seen many challenges over the past two years.  Students and families have had to deal with interrupted learning due to the pandemic as well as limited access to summer programming.  According to independent studies and student achievement data, this has resulted in notable learning deficits among many of our youth.  Some people call those deficits learning loss.  Some call it unfinished learning.  Regardless, the effects are evident, and we, as a state, are working diligently to do something about it.  The Department of Education has been working in tandem with individual school districts and charter schools to ensure that summer learning plans are in place throughout the state.


Recognizing that all students, especially disadvantaged students, have been adversely affected by the pandemic, these plans are in place to provide opportunities for robust learning to continue to occur at scale throughout the summer.   We at the department have coined this summer, the Summer of Opportunity.  We want students to continue to stay involved with one another and supported by skilled individuals, so that they continue to grow and thrive while waiting for the 2022-2023 academic year to begin.  This means, regardless of a child’s zip code, all students will have the opportunity to participate in a summer program that is interesting, exciting, and helps them grow academically, socially, and emotionally.  This year’s summer programs, as always, will focus on literacy and mathematics but there will also be various opportunities for students to experience activities that they may not have had access to previously.  Those activities may include drama, the playing of an instrument, art classes, dance, and more.  They may also include the use of local resources such as our state and national parks where there are opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and swimming.  As a state, we hope to effectively address students’ academic and social and emotional learning in an authentic manner, allowing for as much flexibility as possible regarding pace, selection of material, content, topics, and student voice and decision-making around what interests and inspires them.   And we have all come to realize that kids being engaged and involved is not only good for personal growth but also mental health and well-being.


Measuring student progress is challenging, especially during the summer months when children are accessing different programs and activities.  For some students and families, a half day program works better than a full day program and vice versa.  Some students will attend summer programs that exposes them to a lot of different content, topics, materials, and experiences while other may choose to focus on a particular topic, subject, or skill.  Providing children and families with many options is a good thing.  However, the greater the differential in programing the more challenging it is to measure growth.  Thus, the Department of Education is working with partners to measure growth in specific summer programs using both qualitative and quantitative data.  In doing so, we can determine what programs had not only the high participation rates but also produced the strongest results.


While planning for The Summer of Opportunity, we heard from our districts and charter schools as well as our community-based organizations (CBOs) and faith-based organizations that their greatest hurdle is staffing.  Finding committed and well-trained staff to work with young people is a real challenge right now.  We brought this challenge to the Governor’s Family Services Cabinet Council and brainstormed ways in which this could be addressed.  The answer is the creation of the Governor’s Summer Fellowship program.  High school students, especially those who are currently enrolled in the state’s Teacher Academy Pathway, are being identified and trained to support these summer programs in paid positions.  The Workforce Support Team at the Department of Education, the Governor’s Office, the United Way, other community partners, and our schools and districts have worked collaboratively to launch this initiative in short time.  In fact, we have already had more than 100 high school students in our three counties apply to take part.  All selected students will go through a full week of training in preparation for placement into summer programs in their communities.


While we all want for the upcoming summer to be back to normal and resemble the summers of the past, we must also recognize the opportunity that sits before us: an opportunity for our state to provide as many meaningful and exciting opportunities for growth as possible for our young learners, especially those who have historically been left out in the past.  A focused effort steeped in a lens of equity and access is exactly what’s needed as we move from pandemic to endemic and prepare for what will be a strong and more productive 2022-23 school year.


Find a searchable database of school and community-based partner summer offerings at


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Holodick Names Top High School Seniors 2022 Secretary Scholars

Secretary of Education Mark Holodick has honored 89 public school students from the Class of 2022 as Secretary of Education Scholars.


The scholars are being recognized on a website (2022 Delaware Secretary of Education Scholars – Delaware Department of Education)  to showcase their outstanding achievements.


“I am so impressed by the accomplishments of these seniors,” Holodick said. “During their high school careers they have persevered through school building closures, remote learning, hybrid learning and the transition back to fulltime face-to-face instruction. They have succeeded due to their hard work and the support of their families and educators. Not only have they earned high academic accolades, they are leaders in their schools, athletic teams and communities. Many have balanced impressive class schedules and extracurricular calendars with part-time jobs and volunteer service. These are just the type of leaders our state needs.”


The state has named Secretary of Education Scholars every year since 1984.


The number of scholars from each school is based on enrollment. Principals select the students based on both their academic records and community service. The website includes photographs, principal nomination statements and student narrative statements as submitted by the schools.


Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006

Charter School of Wilmington Wins Championship in 2022 Delaware Envirothon

USDA-NRCS State Conservationist Kasey Taylor, with Charter School of Wilmington Team A: Mukta Kantak, Tiffany Situ, Meghna Raj Annasagaram, Erica Hong, Claire Andreasen, and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. DNREC photo.


Charter School of Wilmington Team A is the winner of the 2022 Delaware Envirothon competition held today at the St. Jones Estuarine Research Reserve in Dover, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts announced today. Today’s win marks the school’s 20th win in the event’s 27-year history, including an unbroken winning streak since 2002. Peach Blossom 4-H Club came in second place and Odessa High School FFA placed third in the Envirothon competition.

“Today, 10 teams of Delaware students were challenged to apply their environmental knowledge to plan and present inventive solutions to present-day environmental situations – and I would like congratulate all of them for stepping up to the challenge,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “These students are today’s young environmental stewards, and I look forward to seeing them taking leadership roles to help ensure the future.”

This year, the 10 competing Envirothon teams representing six high schools and one 4-H club statewide – Calvary Christian Academy, Charter School of Wilmington, Newark Charter School, Odessa High School FFA, Smyrna High School FFA, Sussex Tech High School FFA and Peach Blossom 4-H Club – worked hard all school year to prepare for the event.

Each team answered questions, reviewed specimens, and took measurements in topics dealing with aquatic ecology, soils/land use, wildlife, forestry, air quality and the current environmental issue of “Waste to Resources.” Teams also had to give a seven to 10 minute oral presentation of a scenario based on the special topic. After more than three hours of testing, Charter School of Wilmington Team A was crowned the 2022 state champion. The first place team will represent Delaware at the 2022 North American National Conservation Foundation Envirothon held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in late July.

Each member of the winning team earned a $500 scholarship from the Delaware Envirothon and other prizes. The winning team will also receive an award plaque for their school. The second through seventh place teams received more than $1,300 in special team awards and cash prizes. Special cash awards for the top three teams in air quality, forestry, and soils were provided by the DNREC Division of Air Quality, the Delaware Forestry Association, and the Pocomoke Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society.

Prizes in the form of gift cards and ribbons were awarded to the top seven teams. The official results are as follows:

  • First place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team A: Claire Andreasen, Meghna Raj Annasagaram, Erica Hong, Mukta Kantak, Tiffany Situ and alternate Rujula Brokar
  • Second place – Peach Blossom 4-H Club: Brielle Carter, Aidan Garey, Brenna Geidel, Bethany Knutsen and Leighton Webb
  • Third place – Odessa High School FFA: Kaelin Desrosiers, Natalie Holdren, Bruce Macolley, Taylor Mahoney and Ella Vandervort
  • Fourth place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team C: Rakshetha Balaji, Mikul Duggal, Arjan Kahlon, Khai McCaskill and Dharshini Senthilnathan
  • Fifth place – The Charter School of Wilmington Team B: Amogh Baradwaj, Siddhi Dinavahi, Pargya Singh and Michaela Somers and Joanna Tan
  • Sixth place – Newark Charter High School CliMates: Samita Bomasamudram, Anna Gliwa, Amber Gray, Jared Murray and Benjamin Schultz
  • Seventh place – Calvary Christian Academy: Dawson Shahan, John Thomas, Michelle Thomas, Elijah Washington, Kayleigh Young

Since its inception, the Delaware Envirothon has awarded $62,500 in scholarships to 125 students. The event is hosted by the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts (DACD), a voluntary, non-profit association that coordinates conservation efforts statewide to focus on natural resource issues identified by Delaware’s three local districts. A program of the Delaware Association of Conservation Districts, the Delaware Envirothon is also sponsored by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

More information can be found at

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with @DelawareDNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Joanna Wilson,; Michael Globetti,


Delaware Students Awarded Full-ride Merit Scholarships

Congratulations to this year’s merit scholarship awardees! Merit scholarships are competitive scholarships awarded by DDOE to students for their academic performance, participation in school activities and service to the community.

Students may apply for Delaware merit scholarships in their senior year of high school. All four awards are renewable. Three of the programs are memorial scholarships that honor state legislators and provide full tuition, fees, room, board, and books at the public colleges in Delaware.
Ashley Cooke of Appoquinimink High School in the Appoquinimink School District has received the B. Bradford Barnes Memorial Scholarship, which is given in honor of the former Speaker of the State House of Representatives. This scholarship is awarded to one student each year enrolling full-time at the University of Delaware. Cooke will major in biomedical nursing.
Cierra Holmes of Seaford High School in the Seaford School District received the Herman M. Holloway, Sr. Memorial Scholarship, which honors the first African-American State Senator in Delaware. This scholarship is awarded to one student each year enrolling full-time at Delaware State University. Holmes will major in nursing.
The Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship, in honor of the former Speaker of the State House of Representatives, is awarded annually to one full-time student at the University of Delaware and one full-time student at Delaware State University who are majoring in the humanities or social sciences. (Preference is given to political science majors.) Margaret Livingstone of Middletown High School in the Appoquinimink School District is the recipient of the Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship at University of Delaware. She will major in political science. Jasmine Gray of POLYTECH High School in the POLYTECH School District is the recipient at Delaware State University. She will major in psychology.

Picture of Ashley Cooke, Appoquinimink High School

I was so excited when I received the notification for earning this award, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity! In the fall, I will be attending the University of Delaware as a part of the Honors program while majoring in nursing. I love helping others and giving back to my community, which is why I believe nursing will be a great fit for me. This scholarship will be a major help for my family and I in covering the many costs of college, and I cannot wait to see what U of D has to offer! – Ashley Cook, Appoquinimink High School


Picture of Sierra Holmes, Seaford High School

Earning this scholarship is truly an honor and blessing. This scholarship means a lot to me because it will allow me to achieve my educational goals without having to worry about covering the costs of my education, and for that I am thankful. It is also meaningful to me because I’ve worked hard in my school and community, and earning this scholarship is a result of that. 
I am planning to pursue a degree in nursing. I chose nursing because of my interest in healthcare and my desire to help others. I would like to work in underserved areas to be able to make a difference in others’ lives by providing healthcare to those in need. – Cierra Holmes, Seaford High School

Picture of Jasmine Gray, POLYTECH High School

Receiving this scholarship enables me to pursue my dream to attend a post-secondary school, as well gives me the confidence to succeed academically. I plan to major in psychology with a concentration in pre-med, with plans to pursue a career as a physician assistant. The reason behind a psychology major is the versatility the major offers, and the abundant career opportunities available to assist and aid individuals, in an often underestimated field of study. – Jasmine Gray, POLYTECH High School
Picture of Margaret Livingstone, Middletown High School

Words cannot describe how honored I am to have been awarded the Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship. I intend to use this award to major in Political Science with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Delaware, so that one day I can become an attorney in the area of family law. I cannot wait to further my education at the collegiate level, and cannot thank the Delaware Department of Education enough for their generosity. – Margaret Livingstone, Middletown High School

Media contact: Alison May,, 302-735-4006